SlotsWe all have our favourites! A favourite football team, a favourite armchair, a favourite friend and, of course, a favourite way to bet.

I’m Angelina Saul, editor at My personal betting top three, in order of preference, are; Horse Racing, Slots and Football.

It’s very rare I’ll try anything else, to be honest. I suppose, in the end, we stick with gambling types where we feel we have very strong subject knowledge.

Poker, for instance, is an exceptionally thrilling game, I’ve played it before, and I’ve played it badly. I’m learning by reading blogs, websites and watching YouTube videos, and it’s getting close to bumping football off my list, but I know I won’t be wagering any decent money on it until I feel confident I’m well-versed enough to play it well. If you’re the same, you’ve found the right website to help expand that knowledge!

After all, gambling is about winning money, and without intelligence, strategy and guile, you may as well burn that cash.

So what do Brits like best when it comes to gambling?

Let’s start the countdown of the UK’s most popular gambling types based on the percentage of people who participate in them…

10) Casino Games

At number 10, and further down the list than you might expect, is Casino Games. Only 0.8% of Brits say they’ve played the tables. Fans of Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat and Poker may be gasping in disbelief that it’s not in the top three. However, this ranking doesn’t include slots!

It’s hard to believe that the little spinning wheel of fun isn’t enjoyed by more people. Even more staggering is that Blackjack, with the highest RTP of all games, isn’t played by more people.

However, don’t forget this top ten is based on people who said they participate in a certain type of gambling, not on value or spending.

Casino gaming in the UK is a huge market and part of a blockbuster online package, with Brits spending $16.41 Billion on online betting in 2021. Making it the biggest online betting market in the world.

9) Football Pools

At number nine is a gambling type as British as cucumber sandwiches; the Football Pools.

For those unfamiliar with this UK national pastime, the pools started in a tiny office in Liverpool in 1923. At its height, more than 14 Million people played the pools every week, staking more than £50 Million.

It does what it says on the tin. It is a betting pool where people predict the outcome of a selection of football/soccer matches. Typically cheap to enter with potentially high rewards, it has been a staple of the British household for nearly 100 years. 1% of the population of the UK admits to playing this game.

It’s no exaggeration to say that nearly everyone in the UK has a story from a grandparent, aunt or uncle about the time they nearly won ‘the pools’.

8) Bingo

Bingo these days is no longer the reserve of people in their twilight years. It’s an industry that has spent much time, energy and money reinventing itself in the last decade.

Despite being eighth on our list by the percentage of the population, Brits love a spot of Bingo, spending £812 million a year.

Most of this cash was spent in land-based outlets; perhaps that’s unsurprising given the ticket prices are low, meaning you can enjoy a fun night out for relatively little cost.

7) Fruit of Slot Machines

There can’t be a pub in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland that doesn’t have a slot machine in it. Spend enough time in one for long enough, and you’ll spot the signs of someone about to play. A sideways glance at the flashing lights, a gentle feel of the pocket for change and a polite apology to a partner or friend explaining the need to use the bathroom before side shuffling and heading to the “fruity”.

But it was the high street bookmaker who really profited with fixed odds terminals following their introduction in the late 1990s.

By 2018 £1.78 Billion of high street bookmaker revenue in the UK was generated with these machines – that equated to 58% of their profits at the time.

Clearly, they are still hugely popular with UK players despite curbs to reduce the total amount bet in 2019.

6) Slots

Online slots have come a long way since the Liberty Bell, three reels and fruit-style spins.

These days you can enjoy spectacular animations and entertaining features such as sticky wilds, stacked wilds and drops and wins.

It’s big, big business! According to the UK Gambling Commission Report for July 2022, online casino games dominate the gambling sector in Britain, with slots accounting for £2.9 billion Gross Gambling Yield.

5) Horse Racing

Climbing higher on our list, we find the sport of Kings. As an avid horse racing enthusiast, I’d have bet money on this being in the top three.

For me, betting on horses is as nostalgic as it is fun. It reminds me of Saturday mornings spent with my grandad. A selection of the daily newspapers spread out in front of him with an old tin full of different betting slips spread across the glass table, his deep focus reading the form through jam jar glasses whilst almost subconsciously rolling another cigarette.

Horse racing in the UK has always been a big deal. It started in Great Britain in the early 1600s during the reign of King James 1 and has a long successful history. The term steeplechase comes from bygone times when they would race between villages from one church steeple to another and, of course, wager on the winner.

It’s still big business today, with 3.5% of the population admitting to a flutter in an industry worth £4 Billion which attracts seven million spectators every year.

Last but not least, there’s the Grand National, a truly global event with 500 million people tuning in from 140 countries.

4) Private Betting

My grandfather, yup the same one I mentioned earlier, was a miner. I can still remember my shock when he told me what they used to bet on when they were down deep at the coalface.

They’d all gather around with their torches on their hats and throw a half-eaten sandwich on the floor. Then they’d turn their lights off, and in complete darkness, stamp their heavy boots.

After a while, they flicked on their miners’ lights, and whoever had guessed closest to the number of dead rats would win the pot.

Private betting in the UK is estimated to be enjoyed by 3.8% of the population.

It’s not illegal in the UK if it’s not undertaken in a commercial environment and the host isn’t taking a margin from the stakes or pot. Let’s be honest, who hasn’t thrown in a few quid with their friends for a friendly game of cards? Even at school, I could remember wagering sweets on who could throw a penny closest to the wall.

3) Sports

basketball 2Number eight on our list of what’s hot and what’s not…is sports.

The UK is a nation of sports lovers, from football to cricket, rugby union to rugby league and tennis to croquet. The British love a spot of competition, partly because they invented quite a lot of the games and think they know all there is to know about them.

That makes an afternoon at the football shouting at the ref, explaining what he’s done wrong, and a side bet on the go an even more enjoyable day.

Of course, these days, online casinos offer scores of sports on games around the world. 5.2% of the UK population admitted to betting on sports in 2022.

2) Scratchcards

Number two on our list is scratchcards. A whopping 7.1% of the UK population buys scratchcards.

Their popularity is undoubtedly due to their convenience. They can be bought easily in most shops and garages via 44,000 retailers. Plus, you can spend relatively little money for a chance to win big.

Hundreds of millions are sold each year in the UK.

1) Lotteries

Unsurprisingly, it is Lotteries that top the list of participation by Brits when it comes to gambling.

Almost a third of Brits (27%) buy a lottery ticket. For Camelot, the leading operator in the UK, that meant sales in 2020/2021 of £8 Billion.

There are two factors to this type of market success; good cause and cost.

A Study in the Journal of Gambling studies back in 2012 confirmed a link between gambling strength and economic strength.

The report essentially found that gambling revenue grows during economic expansion and stagnates during a recession. In other words, there’s no growth. Only the Lottery appeared to be so-called recession-proof. Why? Because they’re relatively low cost for the chance to win big!

But that’s not the only reason; lotteries are numero uno. Lotteries aren’t stigmatised in the same way as some other forms of gambling. And that is all down to social cause.

Where poker may be seen as the preserve of hardened gamblers by the majority of Joe Public, lotteries are seen as the amiable old aunt. They are the acceptable face of gambling because you aren’t betting against the house.

The UK Gambling Commissions states that: “Lotteries are only for good causes, such as charities and other non-commercial organisations (opens in a new tab). Lotteries cannot be run for private or commercial gain and are required to return any profit to the purposes of the good cause for which they are run. This provides lottery operators with the unique position of being able to promote the fact that they are run solely for the benefit of good causes, without any commercial incentive.”

As one sweet old lady put it the last time I bought a ticket, “It’s not really betting, is it? More fun, really”.

Of course, there are lots of ways to slice and dice statistics. As part of this review, we could have looked at the total amount gambled, gross gambling yield, total spend and market value etc.

But we decided that popularity could only be based on the percentage of a population participating in any given game, using the latest stats provided via finder..




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